Witnesses to tell of Pistorius' character at trial

By Gerald Imray

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Aug. 25 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

Oscar Pistorius cries as he prays with his sister Aimee and brother Carl in the magistrates court in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. Pistorius was indicted Monday on charges of murder and illegal possession of ammunition for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. (AP Photo)

The Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG — Oscar Pistorius' character, his temper and his use of guns are expected to be examined in his murder trial for the killing of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, based on the prosecution's list of witnesses.

Members of Oscar Pistorius' family, an ex-girlfriend, some of his friends and neighbors, men connected to firearms clubs, a professional cage fighter, a boxer and a host of police specialists and experts are listed as prosecution witnesses for the double-amputee Olympian's murder trial next year.

The Associated Press takes a closer look at some of the 107 state witnesses after Pistorius was indicted on a charge of premeditated murder for the killing of Steenkamp. His trial is set to start on March 3, 2014.


Pistorius said in an affidavit, his only testimony so far, that Johan Stander was the first person he phoned after he shot Steenkamp in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14. He asked Stander to call an ambulance. Stander, who Pistorius described as an administrator of the gated community where the athlete lived, arrived at the house as Pistorius carried a fatally wounded Steenkamp downstairs, according to Pistorius.

As the first person to talk to and to see Pistorius after the shooting, Stander's observations of the immediate aftermath may help a judge decide whether Pistorius had minutes earlier committed murder, as prosecutors say, or made a deadly mistake — the core of the trial.


There are 18 people, including Stander, on the state witness list connected to the Silver Woods Estate where Pistorius lived.

A key part of the prosecutors' case is that they say some of the witnesses, likely neighbors or estate workers, heard a woman scream before the gunshots. The suggestion is not only of a fight between the couple, but also that Pistorius should have known where Steenkamp was by the scream before he shot.

Security guards and an unnamed doctor, who Pistorius said lived at Silver Woods and also arrived at his house soon after he shot Steenkamp, may testify. The prosecution says that Pistorius "walked into security guards" when he went downstairs carrying Steenkamp. The guards are not mentioned by Pistorius.


Pistorius' uncle Arnold, brother Carl and sister Aimee are all named as prosecution witnesses. It's unclear when or if members of Pistorius' family arrived at his home in the hours following the shooting, but the prosecution said in an initial charge sheet that the runner "said to a friend/sister that he thought it was a burglar," claiming Pistorius talked to people close to him soon after he killed Steenkamp. Other friends of Pistorius are witnesses, including one who also lived at Silver Woods and a car dealer who says he introduced Pistorius and Steenkamp in 2012.


Nearly 50 police officers and experts could be called by the state at the trial, including 17 forensic, ballistics and crime scene specialists and a criminal psychologist. Also involved in the case are members of South Africa's Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, which deals with national priority crimes and shows how seriously the country's authorities are taking the case against its one-time sporting hero.

Hilton Botha, the police's former lead investigator who was dropped from the case and later left the force, will likely reappear as a state witness.


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